What is Leading with Humanity all about?

What is it about some people who go into the world and make a difference to the lives of others? Veronica Lysaght, founder of Leading with Humanity, spoke to leaders who are doing good in the world about how they lead.

Many of us want to make a difference in the world. We want our lives to have a purpose, to have meaning. Yet finding how to turn our idea into reality can be a challenge. We all know that we need to adapt, to change, to work with others, take on board the feedback and opinions of those we serve or are hoping to serve. It’s tough, right?

What do those leaders who do good in the world have in common? To answer this question, I asked people who are out in the world, not accepting the status quo; those people who are leading with compassion and respect. They’re people from all around the world who don’t accept the limits of what they see around them, but instead act as catalysts to do things differently.

The people I interviewed don’t necessarily have an easy time; with a world focused on economic reality, focusing on people is a different world view. They’re often people who are more focused on others than themselves, know their values and what they stand for.

They’re also people who listen, who’re prepared to question themselves and what they do, stay flexible and curious about life and their role in it. And they all have courage to do what is right, rather than what is comfortable. The Dalai Lama says it is not enough to be compassionate – you must act. These leaders are people who act.

The people I spoke with in my research, have courage to do things differently and to try something new. They also have the following six attributes in common:

1. They’re clear about the purpose of the work they’re doing.

Whether its supporting teachers, leading protest movements or bringing clean water to those without, every leader I spoke with has a clear purpose they want to achieve. They know exactly why they do what they do.

2. They enable Others.

Central to all those who lead with humanity is the idea of enabling others. These leaders do not focus on what their work brings them – but instead on what it brings others. Their thinking is larger than themselves and is often around building healthier and happier communities, like the Sunday Assembly movement.

3. They listen.

How can you serve others if you don’t listen to what they’re telling you? The leaders I spoke with listen to others. They don’t just pay lip-service to consultation, but instead they hear the thoughts, ideas and emotions of those they’re serving and take these opinions into account in their actions.

4. They lead by example.

One of the clear outcomes of the Leading with Humanity research is that those who lead are practical. If they find out that protests are needed to disrupt a corrupt government or to implement a new policy, they’re soon on the front line, encouraging others to join them.

5. They’re self-aware.

There is a humility present in the leaders I spoke with; what they’re doing can be difficult and challenging and it can also be exhilarating and joyous. Either way, they prepared to look at their part in what goes right and what goes wrong.

6. They stay flexible and curious.

This attribute is at the heart of leading with humanity. The people I spoke with are open to others, willing to question themselves. This helps them to stay engaged with their project, to see new connections and stay creative.

These leaders are inspiring and I think we can all learn from their wisdom and passion. That’s why I developed Leading with Humanity – to give leaders space to think about how to define and articulate their vision, think strategically about the next steps and how to keep growing as a person so you can stay curious and open to change.

If you’re interested in learning how you can develop these skills and attitudes in yourself, then please book a call to find out more about the Leading with Humanity leadership development programmes.

If you are leading with humanity, or know someone who is, please email me on veronica@leadingwithhumanity.org to share the story.

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